Before the risin' sun, we fly/So many roads to choose/We'll start out walkin' and learn to run/And yes, we've only just begun (“We’ve Only Just Begun”, written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, 1970)
It’s amazing that with the internet, we can communicate globally in a way like no other in history. Gay liberation got its kick start at the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and once the internet hit in the 90’s, it began going global in a big way.
I write about gay life through the filter of sexuality. However, this sexual navel-gazing must seem an immense privilege to those in parts of the world where homophobia runs rampant. Every day, after work, the first thing I do is open my blog and look at the statistics – how many people logged on today and where they were from. Naturally, my greatest readership comes from countries where English is the main language. After the United States, Canada, The United Kingdom and Australia, other countries are listed, but their numbers are much lower. Nevertheless, I am intrigued to find that Poland is in the list on a consistent basis.
Although there is conflicting information out there, the general consensus seems to be that outside of very limited spaces, it can be quite dangerous to be out and proud in Poland. Here in North America, I have the gross privilege of saying any damn thing I want to about gay sex. But it was not long ago that here too, to write this way would have been verboten.
Since 1969, we have seen a freedom for homosexuals hardly known at any other time in all of history. The ancient Greeks knew a thing or two about it. Our aboriginal brothers and sisters honored the two-spirited members of their tribes before the Europeans came and fucked it up.
However, the time traveled since 1969 until now is so short that history has barely blinked its eyes. And we homosexuals are the new Christopher Columbus, charting new territories, “watching the signs along the way” as The Carpenters so famously sang.
We have no script. We are all writers as we invent our lives. Thus the reason for so many contradictions in my essays: I love sex, I fear it; I want to be real and vulnerable with men, then I go and try to be Mr. SuperDick; I long for intimacy and then push it away. That’s why I can be flying down the highway of sexual bliss one day, and the next, on a dime, the car flips over and I’m sexually stuck.
But perhaps before we aggrandize ourselves as the Christopher Columbus’s of this age, we ought to think of the universality of the struggle to understand sex and relationships. The straights are still writing their scripts too. As Alanis Morissette sang “No one’s really got it figured out just yet.”
What we need are exemplars to learn from, and then attempt to become exemplars ourselves. The definition of exemplar is: one that serves as a model or example. Going further into the lexicon, we see that exemplary has two possible connotations: a)deserving imitation, b)serving as a warning. It wasn’t for nothing that I subtitled the blog “Cautionary Tales from the Quest”.
So to my reader(s) in Poland, I will be watching my stats and thinking of you. I am mostly Ukrainian in ancestry but there’s a little Polish in there too. May you all both find, and become, exemplars.